Saturday, March 19, 2011

1 dead, 2 injured in protests by Honduras teachers

March 18, 2011 Associated Press

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras – Honduras' president ordered striking school
teachers back to work Friday following clashes with police that left one
teacher dead and two others injured.

The teachers are demanding better conditions as well as the return of
ousted former President Manuel Zelaya.

Assistant principal Ilse Velasquez, 59, died from head injuries, Hospital
Escuela spokeswoman Lilia Leiva said. Velasquez worked at a school in
Tegucigalpa, the capital.

Pro-Zelaya radio station Radio Globo said Velasquez was struck in the face
by a tear gas grenade then hit by a police vehicle that was spraying water
at protesters.

Police Chief Juan Canales said the case was under investigation and
provided no other details.

Teachers, who began protesting Thursday, were given big pay raises by
Zelaya before he was ousted in a 2009 coup and the strikers are demanding
his return.

After two days of protests that blocked streets, President Porfirio Lobo's
administration issued an emergency decree Friday ordering teachers back to
work. The decree permits the government to fire those who disobey the
order and hire temporary substitutes to replace them.

Zelaya's term ran out several months after his ouster and Lobo won the
subsequent election.

Zelaya currently lives in the Dominican Republic and has said wants to
return to Honduras, but first wants arrest warrants against him dropped.
He faces charges of fraud, usurping powers and falsifying documents, which
he calls politically motivated.

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